A Baltimore Police officer charged with theft and misconduct in office last week was caught on camera stealing an envelope of cash from a business, according to charging documents.
Officer Eric Payton, 46, responded as backup after another officer found a business in the 4800 block of Belair Road open and unsecured in the early morning hours of Sept. 20. Later that day, the business owner called police and reported that she had surveillance videotape of an officer taking an envelope containing $111 that had been dropped off by an employee.
Police viewed the video and confirmed that Payton was seen on the video kicking the envelope, then picking it up and putting it in his pocket.
The officer investigating the theft then summoned a supervisor, who contacted evidence control to determine whether any property had been submitted in connection with the investigation of the open door. “It was determined that Officer Payton did not submit any currency or any additional property,” police wrote in court documents.
There’s no mention in the documents of whether Payton or the officer he was backing up activated their body-worn cameras while inside the business.
Police moved swiftly to charge Payton, a seven-year veteran. In a news release issued late Friday — which did not detail the allegations against Payton — they said he had been suspended without pay.
“The Department takes misconduct in office, and other illegal behaviors, very seriously. Each member takes an oath of office to uphold the Constitution and to serve the citizens of Baltimore,” Acting Commissioner Richard Worley said in a statement. “It is of the upmost importance to the Department that we continue to work to strengthen trust with the community, strengthen relationships and remain steadfast in our commitment to transparency. This type of conduct, if proven, erodes that process and hurts us all.”
Payton’s attorney, Chaz Ball, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Payton was previously a city schools police officer before joining the Baltimore Police Department. Salary records show he was paid $76,800 in fiscal year 2022, despite earning a base salary of $89,380. That year, court records show, he appealed a worker’s compensation case and lost.